‘Moms Against Michael Moore’ protest Reno visit
RENO – Thirty protesters with American flags and signs reading “No Moore Lies” rallied outside the campus arena where filmmaker Michael Moore is to speak tonight to a sellout crowd of about 10,000.
“This is not a political issue here today, this is a moral issue,” said Dona Lakis, who organized Tuesday’s rally at the University of Nevada, Reno as head of “Moms Against Michael Moore.”
“Michael Moore is influencing our children… He preys on the university students,” she said. “I don’t care if he comes to this city. I do care if he comes to this university.”
Moore, whose “Fahrenheit 9/11” blasts President Bush, is to speak at UNR’s Lawlor Events Center at 8 p.m. tonight. Lawlor officials said the event sold out Tuesday. About 8,000 tickets were sold at $5 each and another 2,000 free tickets went to students.
Protesters on Tuesday compared Moore to al Qaida, criticized the use of student funds to help cover part of his $33,000 speaking fee and took aim at UNR President John Lilley, who has defended the invitation to Moore to speak.
“You Paid For Moore Lies. Lilley Say Goodbye,” one sign read. Others said: “No Moore making money off this election,” “No Moore Taking Advantage of Students,” and “More $ For Education, Not Moore’s Bank Account.”
“We’re at war. Michael Moore is making millions off this war,” said Carol Frazier, who said she drove an hour from Dayton to attend the rally.
Moore, who is speaking at dozens of cities across the nation as part of his “Slacker Uprising” tour, battled hecklers throughout a two-hour speech before a crowd of 14,500 at the University of Arizona in Tucson on Monday.
In Reno, opponents on and off campus have criticized the UNR student government’s approval of $6,300 for Democracy for Nevada – a student club and political action committee – to help pay for Moore’s visit.
Lilley issued a letter on Friday underscoring the school’s commitment to free speech.
“I encourage the students, faculty and community to respect Mr. Moore’s right to express his views and to remind others of his right to express them,” Lilley wrote.
“Whatever you think of his views, he is now a guest of the university, and he must be allowed to speak,” he said.
Another protest was scheduled at 5 p.m. today organized by the UNR College Republicans.